Joliet Catholic Academy
|Joliet Catholic Academy|
1200 North Larkin Avenue|
Joliet, Illinois 60435
|Type||private, coeducational, secondary, parochial|
|Religious affiliation(s)||Roman Catholic|
|Established||1990 (1869 as Saint Francis Academy, 1918 as De LaSalle High School)|
|Founder||Mother Mary Alfred Moes|
|Oversight||Diocese of Joliet|
columbia blue |
|Slogan||Inspiring Growth in Knowledge and Faith|
|Athletics conference||East Suburban Catholic Conference|
|Accreditation||North Central Association of Colleges and Schools|
|Newspaper||The Victory View|
Joliet Franciscan Sisters
Joliet Catholic Academy (Joliet Catholic or JCA) is a coed Catholic High School located in Joliet, Illinois. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet. One of the oldest Catholic high schools in the Chicago area, Joliet Catholic is perhaps best known for its prowess in football. Since the advent of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state football playoffs in 1974, JCA has won more state football titles than any other team in the state, with 13 as of 2007.
The modern school is itself the result of a merger between the all-girls St. Francis Academy and the all-male Joliet Catholic High School, which itself was formerly known as DeLaSalle High School for Boys. It is this merger that results in the school's shared affiliation with the Carmelites and the Joliet Franciscan Sisters.
The Joliet Franciscan Sisters opened St. Francis Academy in 1869 as an all-girls school. The academy was founded in a small stone building convent by Mother Mary Alfred Moes, who later would help found the Mayo Clinic. In 1923, the school moved to the campus of the University of St. Francis, which had opened in 1920. In 1956, the school moved to the building at 1200 N. Larkin, which is the current site of JCA.
George Cardinal Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago, had the De La Salle Christian Brothers create a new high school for boys as a part of their renovation of St. Patrick Church in Joliet. The school opened in 1918 as DeLaSalle High School for Boys with only two classrooms in the parish center, but moved to a new building in 1927. In 1933, the Carmelites took possession of the school, at which time, the school became Joliet Catholic High School.
In the summer of 1990, Joliet Catholic High School and St. Francis Academy merged to form the modern Joliet Catholic Academy.
In terms of Advanced Placement (AP) courses, the school offers Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, Government and Politics, Spanish, and European History. The school also offers one of the two courses in AP English and AP Calculus.
The men's teams at the school are referred to as the Hilltoppers, the same named used by the former Joliet Catholic High School, while the girls teams retain the name used by St. Francis Academy; the Angels. The school is a member of the East Suburban Catholic Conference.
The school sponsors teams for men and women in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Men also compete in baseball, football, and wrestling, while women also compete in softball, and cheerleading. The school also has a competitive dance team, which does not compete under the auspices of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).
The football team host home games at Joliet Memorial Stadium.
The following teams have finished in the top four of their respective state championship series sponsored by the IHSA:
- Baseball: 3rd place (2007–08); 2nd place (1989–90, 1999–2000, 2003–04); State Champions (1993–94), (2008–09), (2012–13)
- Football: 2nd place (1992–93, 1996–97, 2009-10, 2011-12); State Champions (1975–76, 1976–77, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1981–82, 1987–88, 1990–91, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2007–08)
- Golf (boys): 3rd place (1956–57, 1959–60); 2nd place (1958–59); State Champions (1957–58)
- Softball: 4th place (1987–88)
- Volleyball (girls): 4th place (1998–99, 2005–06); 3rd place (1986–87, 2006–07); State Champions (2003–04, 2007–08, 2008-09, 2009-10)
- Basketball (girls): 2nd place (2013–2014)
Of special note, the football team has won more football titles than any other team in the state. Since the start of the IHSA State Tournament for football in 1974, JCA has qualified for the playoffs 33 times (as of 2009–10 season)
- James Otteson (Class of 1986) is a philosopher and economist. Currently he is Executive Director of the Eudaimonia Institute, as well as professor of economics and Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics, at Wake Forest University. He is also a Research Professor in the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom and in the Philosophy Department at the University of Arizona and a Senior Fellow at The Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C.
- Melissa McCarthy is an award-winning actress, starring in the films such as Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy and the television series Mike & Molly.
- Joe Benson (Class of 2006) was drafted after his senior year of high school by the Minnesota Twins in the second round (64th overall) of the 2006 MLB draft. Made his major league debut on September 6, 2011 for the Twins. His first major league hit was a single off of Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer on September 10, 2011. He began the 2012 season with the Twins' Triple-A affiliate Rochester Red Wings and did not return to the majors, ending his MLB career with 17 hits.
- Sean Bergman, former MLB player (Detroit Tigers, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins). A pitcher, he threw a shutout for the Tigers against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 11, 1995. He won 39 games between 1993 and 2000.
- Kevin Cameron (Class of 1998) is a former MLB pitcher who played for the San Diego Padres and the Oakland Athletics, appearing in 69 games. Was rated 72nd in Baseball America's Top 100 prospects and made all-state and all-area selections in 1998. Also set a state playoff record with 20 strikeouts in a game. Cameron was drafted out of high school by the Chicago White Sox in the 1998 MLB Draft, but elected to attend Georgia Tech on scholarship instead. Cameron was drafted again in the 2001 MLB draft by the Minnesota Twins in the 13th round (377th overall pick).
- Mark Grant (Class of 1981) was a Major League Baseball pitcher from 1984–1993 and is now the color commentator for the San Diego Padres. Grant was selected in the first round of the 1981 MLB Draft as the 10th overall selection by the San Francisco Giants.
- Mike Grace, former MLB player (Philadelphia Phillies), pitched for the Phillies from 1995-99, winning 16 games.
- Bill Gullickson (Class of 1977), former MLB pitcher (Montreal Expos, Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers). Selected as the second pick of the 1977 MLB Draft, Gullickson spent 14 seasons in the majors, winning 162 games. He led the American League in wins during the 1991 season with 20. Gullickson's 18-strikeout game for the Expos is still a record for that franchise, which is now the Washington Nationals.
- Chris Michalak, former MLB player (Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds), 1998-2006. He was pitching coach for the Harrisburg Senators, Class AA affiliate of the Washington Nationals, in 2017.
- Jack Perconte, former MLB player (Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox) from 1980-86. A second baseman, he had 180 hits and 29 stolen bases during the 1984 Mariners season, batting .294.
- Terry Gannon (Class of 1981) played college basketball at North Carolina State, where he was a member of Jim Valvano's "Cardiac Pack" national championship-winning team in 1983. During his four-year career, (1981–85), he was a two-time Academic All-American and NC State's all-time leading free throw shooter. In 1983, he was the #1 three-point shooter in the nation. After a short basketball career in Europe, Gannon turned to broadcasting on the advice of his coach "Jimmy V."
- Ed Mikan was a professional basketball player in the BAA and its successor, the NBA (1948–54). A member of DePaul's 1945 National Invitation Tournament championship team, he was the fifth overall pick in the 1948 BAA draft.
- George Mikan (Class of 1942) was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959. Nicknamed "Mr. Basketball," Mikan played for DePaul University, then for the Chicago American Gears of the National Basketball League (NBL) and the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBL, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). Milan won seven NBL, BAA and NBA championships, an All-Star MVP trophy and three scoring titles. He was a member of the first four NBA All-Star and the first six All-BAA and All-NBA teams. Mikan was so dominant that he caused several rule changes in the NBA, among them the widening of the foul lane — known as the "Mikan Rule" — and the introduction of the shot clock. One of the founding fathers of the American Basketball Association, served as the league's commissioner. Played a critical role in the founding of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mikan made the 25th and 35th NBA Anniversary Teams of 1970 and 1980 and was elected one of the NBA 50 Greatest Players in 1996. Since April 2001, a statue of Mikan shooting his trademark hook shot graces the entrance of the Timberwolves' Target Center.
- Allie Quigley (Class of 2004) currently plays in the WNBA as a member of the Chicago Sky and won the 2014 and 2015 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Award. She attended DePaul University and received honors such as Conference USA Freshman of the Year as well as two-time first team all Big East.
- Mike Alstott (Class of 1992) was an NFL fullback and 6-time Pro Bowl selection for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was a member of the team that won Super Bowl XXXVII. He also played fullback for the Purdue Boilermakers, where he was three-time MVP and set nearly every school rushing record and several Big Ten Conference ones. Alstott was the 35th overall selection of the 1996 NFL Draft.
- Coby Fleener (Class of 2007) was selected with the second pick of the second round (34th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He was the first tight end taken in that draft. Fleener attended Stanford University after becoming an all-conference, all-area, all-state and all-academic honoree during his senior season at Joliet Catholic Academy. He currently plays for the New Orleans Saints.
- Tom Thayer (Class of 1979) was an NFL offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, and was a member of the team that won Super Bowl XX. Thayer was the 91st overall selection of the 1983 NFL Draft, having played college football for Notre Dame. He is currently a radio color commentator for the Bears.
- Josh Ferguson (Class of 2011) played football at the University of Illinois as a running back. Going undrafted, he was later signed by the NFL's Indianapolis Colts.
- Daniel Eugene "Rudy" Ruettiger (born August 23, 1948) is a motivational speaker who played college football at the University of Notre Dame. His early life and career at Notre Dame was the inspiration for the 1993 film Rudy.
- David Sims (Class of 1980) was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team in the 1500 meter freestyle. He was a member of the USA National Team from 1980 to 1986. At Stanford University, he was a NCAA All-America from 1981 to 1984.
- Kelly Murphy was Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2008. She played Division 1 volleyball for the University of Florida, where she was a four-time All-American. Murphy represented Team USA in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, winning a bronze medal.
Bob Zak (Class of 1979) is a radio personality who has performed on a variety of stations in the Chicago market including WJRC, WCCQ, WJOL, I-Rock, WKKD, WJTW, WCSJ as well as Chicago's WCFL, WCKG, Star Station, and Y107.9-The 1970s station, among others.
- Gordie Gillespie was the football coach from 1959 to 1985, leading the school to five state titles. He has also served as the head baseball coach at the University of St. Francis (1977–1995 and 2006–2010). He is the all–time leader in baseball coaching victories among American college coaches, recording his 1,800th career win on April 3, 2009. He was named NAIA "Baseball Coach of the Century", and was named by the Chicago Tribune as the Head Football Coach for the "All-Time Illinois High School Football Team".
- NCA-CASI. "NCA-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
- "History of JCA" Archived 2008-07-04 at the Wayback Machine.
- Curriculum guide Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine.
- IHSA records for Joliet Catholic Academy
- "IHSA Table of Titles – Football". Illinois High School Association (IHSA). 6 October 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
- "Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy prompts Plainfield pride". Chicago Tribune. 2011-09-20. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- 1981 MLB draft Archived 2008-10-14 at the Wayback Machine.
- Glenn, David (2007-06-27). "Terry Gannon, More ACC-NBA, Etc". WRAL.com. Archived from the original on 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
- "Terry Gannon". ABC Medianet. Archived from the original on 2007-06-08. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
- Ed Mikan stats & bio; basketball-reference.com; accessed 1 January 2009
- hoophall.com (2007-02-23). "George Mikan Biography". Archived from the original on May 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
- Mike Alstott page at nfl.com
- "2011 Purdue Football Information Guide" (PDF). cstv.com. Retrieved 2011-11-07.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-12. Retrieved 2012-04-30.
- Tom Thayer bio
- Gillespie earns 1800th victory; 3 April 2009; Associated Press; accessed 4 April 2009
- City of Joliet Hall of Fame: Gordie Gillespie; accessed 4 April 2009